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BLAIRSVILLE: Students participate in culinary event

by BOBBI ANN PEASE, Gazette Student News Reporter on April 12, 2013 11:00 AM

BLAIRSVILLE — This past Friday, five Blairsville High School students competed in the Heritage Conference Family and Consumer Science Competition.

Blairsville’s team was comprised of seniors Jessica Harper, Samantha Harsh and Ashley Thompson, sophomore Allison Startari and freshman Lauren Baker. These students and family and consumer science teacher Janet Ross traveled to Northern Cambria High School to compete with eight other schools.

To prepare for the competition, students had the opportunity to practice their culinary and teamwork skills for a few weeks in school. The team would practice napkin folding, table setting, vegetable prep and garnishes, meat prep, puddings and sauces. The competition itself was set up like “Iron Chef.” Each team was given a bag of groceries and had to form a menu that met the criteria of My Plate, a nutrition guide from the United States Department of Agriculture. Just like practice, each of the team members had a different job.

According to Thompson, “I was in charge of setting the table. It may sound easy, but everything has to be precise.”

While Thompson was setting up the table, Startari and other teammates worked on creating a perfect meal following all the parts to the My Plate. The team made baked chicken, broiled vegetables and homemade yogurt with apple slices, banana and strawberries with homemade meringue. After the team prepared their meals, they then had to present them to the four judges and explain their cooking techniques. With only two points between first and third, Blairsville received third place at the competition. Looking back at the competition, Harper said, “My favorite part was meeting new people at the competition and improving my cooking skills.”

Ross added, “I enjoyed having the opportunity to work closely with a small group who were able to showcase their talents and abilities.”

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